23rd March 2011
Island prisoners win Koestler art awards
THE creative efforts of the Island’s prisoners have been recognised by judges in a prestigious UK competition. Artwork, poetry and handicrafts entered by residents at Jurby Prison scooped a number of prizes in the annual Koestler Awards, including a highly sought-after gold award.
The UK charity’s Director of Arts, Fiona Curran, recently visited the Isle of Man to present certificates and offer feedback to some of the participants. She explained that the competition – for offenders, secure patients and detainees throughout the British Isles – attracts more than 5,000 entries each year, many of a very high standard.
‘The Awards inspire offenders to take part in the arts, work for achievement and transform their lives. The Isle of Man submitted some very strong entries, so it was good to have the opportunity to visit Jurby and congratulate the staff and prisoners involved,’ Fionaa said.
Participation in the arts is a key element of the IoM Prison Service education programme which in turn supports the rehabilitation of prisoners. Prison Education Manager Judy Jackson said:
‘We encourage our residents to take part in creative activities as it helps to build confidence, self-esteem and a sense of value that may sometimes be lacking. We have been enthusiastic supporters of the Koestler Awards for many years, so it was a pleasure to welcome Fiona here to present the certificates.’
Bill Malarkey MHK, Member of the Department of Home Affairs with responsibility for the Prison Service, added:
‘Winning awards and receiving feedback from the Koestler Trust is important as this kind of recognition gives powerful encouragement to offenders to find positive new directions in life. Inspiring a change in behaviour can only help towards our aims of reducing crime and enhancing community safety.’
Some of the Koestler award-winning artwork will be on public display at the Isle of Man College from April 7 to 15 in an exhibition of creative work by residents of Jurby prison.